Can I reserve a grave?

Written By

Ivan Fisher

With over 20 years of experience within the funeral industry, Ivan Fisher answers some of the most frequestly asked questions posed to him and the team. If you have a question you would like to ask you can contact us here, send us a tweet @_ivanfisher or call us direct.

It is entirely possible to reserve a grave but it’s important to understand that there are different ways to reserve a specific plot, and this is dependent on who is in charge of the burial ground that you have chosen.

How to reserve a plot in a council run cemetery or private burial ground.

The first thing to understand is that when you ‘purchase a plot’ in a council run cemetery or in a private burial ground, either in advance or at the time of need, you are not actually buying the plot of land. Instead, you are purchasing the ‘Exclusive Rights of Burial’ to that particular plot and this exclusivity will be for a set number of years.

Most cemeteries will allow people to purchase the Exclusive Rights to a plot in advance. The cost of doing so can vary widely from one cemetery to the next.

The period that the Exclusive Rights begins will be from the date of purchase and not at the time when a body is interred into the grave.

For example: If you purchased the Exclusive Rights for a plot in 2000 for 50 years but a burial didn’t take place until 2020, the Exclusive Rights to that plot would still expire in 2050.

At the time of writing, most cemeteries would allow a family to renew the Exclusive Rights when they do expire but this would be entirely at their discretion and would be determined by the cemetery authority at the time.

Interment Fees

Once you have purchased the Exclusive Rights to a plot, there will still be an interment fee to pay to the cemetery authority at the time of the funeral. This is a separate fee that needs to be paid for each interment into the plot.

How to reserve a plot in a churchyard (Church of England)

The process of reserving a plot is very different when you choose a plot in a churchyard.

The only way you can officially reserve a plot in a churchyard is to apply for a ‘Faculty’ from the church itself. This is a legal process that grants the applicant official authorisation to reserve a particular plot.

For more information about how to apply for a Faculty you can speak to your local church or you find more information here:

There is a fee to pay which covers legal expenses when you apply for a Faculty. This fee is set by the Church of England.

Local practices vary from across churches, and some will advise that a plot can be reserved unofficially (without a Faculty in place). In many instances, these reservations will be sufficient and honoured however without a Faculty, there is no absolute guarantee that you will be able to use that plot at the time of need.

With or without a Faculty, there is a set fee charged by the church when a grave is opened. This fee is updated each year and will need to be paid at the time of the funeral.


As funeral directors, we are regulary asked lots of questions about our profession. We are very happy to answer any questions you might have and no matter how strange they may seem, it’s very likely that we’ve been asked it before! Fill in the form below with your question and one of our team will get back to you as soon as possible.

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